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General News of Thursday, 20 October 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

I'm still waiting for Akufo-Addo for debate challenge - Mahama

President John Mahama has repeated his challenge to his main contender New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo for a one-on-one debate after witnessing the US presidential debate.

The President who was speaking on Volta Star Radio in the Volta region where he is campaigning, said Ghanaians deserve to hear the arguments for change or continuation before the vote on December 7.

According to the president, there is so much misinformation thrown about by his opponents and a debate presents a good opportunity to straighten things.

"If we have a one-on-one debate, we will all have our figures and Ghanaians will be able to see who is telling the truth," he said.

The President observed that he followed the US Presidential debate Thursday between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. "Debates are very important...so yes I still stand by the challenge I threw ," the President who has been branded a communication expert, said.

President John Mahama suggested that one key issue the debate could settle is whether the economy is facing a challenge or a crisis.

"They say the economiy is in crisis. If we have a debate, you will show why you think the economy is in crisis. The documents are all there. The statistics are there", he said.

While the two candidates have made public utterances signalling their preparedness to debate, the devil has been in the detail.

Finding an acceptable organiser of the debate is a vexed issue. The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has rejected IEA invitation to participate in this year's Presidential debate citing bias.

The IEA, an established debate-organising platform since 2000 has been accused of being a surrogate of the opposition NPP along with other think-tanks CDD, IDEG. IEA presidential debate was slated for September.

The President's fresh invitation appears to suggest the ruling party would be more comfortable if another body is to organise it.

The state institution, the NCCE has since signalled it will be organising its first-ever presidential dialogue series and the governing party has warmed up to that platform.

Time is running out with general elections barely 48 days away. "I hope that they will respond and rise to the occasion" he urged his main challenger.

It remains to be seen if the mouth-watering prospect of John Mahama and Akufo-Addo debate could ever materialise and where.